21:27 GMT +325 March 2019
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    The S-400 missile defence system.

    Turkey Wants First Batch of Russian S-400s Before 2020 - Erdogan's Spokesman

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    ANKARA (Sputnik) - Ankara expects the first batch of Russian S-400 air defense systems to be delivered to Turkey by the end of 2019, and joint production will start then, Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Thursday.

    "There have been many unfair attacks on Turkey, related to the S-400. We have held long talks with our western allies [related to S-400 deliveries], but in vain. And then we voiced our wishes to other states, we have launched a tender. The Russian side has made the best offer, and the first batch of S-400 will be delivered to Turkey by the end of the next year, and then joint production will start," Kalin said at a forum on Russian-Turkish relations, currently underway in Ankara.

    READ MORE: Growing Demand for Russia's S-400 is 'Message' to US-German Media

    He also said that he did not rule out that Turkey could buy US ЗРК Patriot air missile systems as well.

    "We really need these systems, and if we get a good offer not only on deliveries but on joint production as well, we will accept it. Turkey is not a country that relies on just one alternative. And the S-400 deliveries should be regarded from this point of view. We are not going to attack anyone, we are just going to protect ourselves from possible attacks," Kalin added.

    The deliveries will be made under a loan agreement Ankara signed with Moscow in December 2017, envisaging the delivery of the Russian-made S-400 air defence systems to Turkey. Russia's Rostec state corporation CEO Sergey Chemezov said then that the contract envisaged the delivery of four S-400 battalion-size sets worth $2.5 billion, with 55 percent of the contract sum being covered by Russian loans.


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